3D Projection Mapping is a very cutting-edge art form – one that is becoming increasingly popular among advertisers keen to generate buzz around their product.

At its simplest, it’s very simple indeed. It’s all about projecting pictures and moving images onto 3D objects.

Essentially animated images – such as collapsing bricks, dancing lights or a motorway scene at night – are projected onto a stationary object using 3D video, sound effects and music. The results are spectacular and an immersive experience for the viewer.

What is far from simple, however, is creating the content to project. In other words, devising bespoke computer images that will precisely fit and complement the “artist’s canvas”.

That canvas can be pretty much anything of a decent size: a building, car or even a per-son. Anything can be rojected; images of skiers careering down smart leather seats, tropical fish swimming their way across pil-lars and mountaineers scaling headlamps. It’s about using your imagination. You can make buildings fall. You can potentially turn anything in the physical world into some-thing else.

So for a car, the projection starts off with the designer’s drawings being beamed onto the car. These gradually evolve in front of the viewers’ eyes until the finished model is finally revealed.

Projecting the images onto a car works really well: you see the sketch coming to life and becoming more detailed. You really do conjure an image of the designer sitting there and thinking to himself “I’ve got an idea for the shape of this new car”.

For instance, the popular Citroen DS4 map-ping animation has an urban, non-conformist feel. So, to that end, the film was shot on location in a power station on the Thames estuary. The chosen environment is fantastic. An edgy power station provided just the right background. You’ve got this marvellous contrast of this brand-new shiny object being
born out of a gritty, urban setting.

One thing that projection mapping – with all its technical know-how – can’t cope with. There’s just one important thing to remember. It needs to be done in the dark.

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